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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Secret of the Clammy Ground-Cherry

clammy ground-cherry growth form

This plant has an unfortunate name and a secret. It is the Clammy Ground-Cherry. How's that for an endearing moniker? It's not clammy, and it's not a cherry, but it does grow near the ground. You'll find it in open fields- either in bare spots or hidden in the grass- but it definitely wants to be in the sun.

clammy cherry flower

I'll tell you one of its secrets today. Did you notice any flowers in the first picture? Probably not. But when the leaves are spread a little you can find these pretty yellow flower bells hanging underneath the leaves.

clammy cherry flower

Here's another secret! Look at how different the flowers look on the inside. I just have to show you that close-up!

clammy cherry flower detail

This plant is actually a relative of the tomato. Did you guess that? It looks a little like a tomato. That whole family is Solanaceae (SOUL-an-EH-see). This member has fuzzy, slightly sticky stems. You can see how fuzzy even the flower is in the closeup.

clammy cherry forming fruit capsule

Finally, in this picture some of the fruits are beginning to form. So this story is not over yet. Stay tuned... the rest of the secret will be revealed in due time.

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Rebecca said...

So wrong, I have to help my brother move and take my uncle to his eye appointment...looks like I may miss out on the fun. :-(

Oh, by the way...venting is OK as long as it isn't habitual. You know..like raising taxes and bigger government.

OOP's I slip in a little whine there didn't I?

Ratty said...

After you pointed it out, I vaguely remembered tomato plants looking similar, or I might be imagining it. It's been awhile since I've looked at any, but maybe I know a little something more than I realize.

VanillaSeven said...

Wow, tomatoes inside the the flower!
That's so cool!

BK said...

This is pretty interesting; the name so wrongly choose. Perhaps you could enlighten us on how the name was chosen. How shy the flower is, to be hiding beneath the leaves. No one would notice if they didn't look closely or lift up the leaves. And it is indeed fuzzy, even in the second shot I thought I can see it already. Thank you for the interesting read and secrets.

Grampy said...

I am so looking forward to the next post. The internet is such a wonderful learning experience.

Glynis Peters said...

I have never seen these before. Thanks for sharing and teaching :)

rainfield61 said...

Great discovery for me. A relative of tomato!!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Pretty neat!

betchai said...

what a beautiful flower picture especially the close up. yeah, when i saw the first two pictures, i can see it looks more like a tomato than a cherry. would want to see its fruits, if they look like the cherry tomatoes.

Sharkbytes said...

Rebecca- Bummer, you'll be gone the whole time??? Maybe just for the monthly game, huh.

Ratty- well, just like how you try to pull people into your walks, I'm trying to pull people into a bit of interest about plants. There are lots of things that people know about their names, their growth habits, etc. that you almost understand... but it just takes one step more to realize that you do understand it!

Hi Vanilla- Well, any fruit grows from a flower, hint hint! :-)

BK- Stick around... you'll have at least part of that answer at the right time.

Grampy- well, we have to wait just a bit for the plant to cooperate!

Hi Glynis- I know it has relatives in your part of the world, but I'm sure most of the species are different.

Rainfield- actually the tomato has a ton of relatives. I'm thinking of featuring more of them over time.

Hi Jennifer- Thanks for stopping by. I hope you'll find lots of neat things here...

Betchai- You may be on to something there... hold that thought, but be ready for a little surprise too.

Anonymous said...

Love that close-up picture! Very fuzzy and clear..

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